The first night of “Dancing with the Stars” Season 29 was full of tiger stripes and claws. Carole Baskin received the lowest score of the night.
“Tiger King” star Carole Baskin was challenged by more than just the paso doble during Monday’s “Dancing with the Stars” premiere.
The family of the animal activist’s former husband, Don Lewis – who went missing in 1997 – sought for information regarding his disappearance in a commercial that aired during the premiere. Baskin, who addressed suspicions of her involvement in Netflix’s docuseries, was named in the commercial, which Entertainment Tonight and HuffPost report aired during ABC’s “DWTS” broadcast.
The spot, which offers a $100,000 reward, features Lewis’ daughters, Gale, Lynda and Donna, along with family attorney John M. Phillips.
“Do you know who did this, or if Carole Baskin was involved?” he asked.
After her “DWTS” performance, Baskin told “Entertainment Tonight” she was “not at all surprised” by the ad after performing in the ballroom. “It’s just been a huge publicity stunt on their part, so what more could they possibly do than that?”
In “Tiger King,” Lewis’ family paints Baskin, 59, in an unflattering light. His ex-wife Gladys Lewis Cross remembers “the last day that I saw Don, he told me that he was done, that he was divorcing her, that she was one of the worst people he’d ever met in his life, and (that) she was very dangerous.”
Lynda adds that Lewis was afraid of Baskin. He sought a restraining order against her in June 1997, claiming she’d threatened to kill him. Lewis disappeared two months later. Baskin claims she thought he was on his way to Costa Rica, and says she suspects he might have had Alzheimer’s disease and been confused about his whereabouts.
But others, including Joe Exotic, believe Baskin fed Lewis to her big cats. The case inspired Joe’s song “Here Kitty Kitty.” Baskin denies this claim and speaks out about what she feels are untruths in a post on Big Cat Rescue’s website, where she discredits some interviewed for the docuseries and denies threatening Lewis.
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Baskin’s paso doble, appropriately set to “Eye of the Tiger” earned her 11 points out of 30. Baskin warned in the preview that she had “zero” dance experience, and it showed.
Contributing: Bryan Alexander
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